November 7th, 2011
This week brings us the release of only two relevant monthly economic reports but neither of them is considered to be highly important. There are two important Treasury auctions this week that may influence mortgage rates more than the minor economic data that is scheduled.
It is also a holiday-shortened week with the bond market closed Friday in observance of the Veterans Day holiday. The stock markets will be open Friday, but bonds will not be traded meaning that many lenders will be closed.
Neither of this week’s monthly economic reports is expected to lead to noticeable changes in mortgage rates. This means that the stock markets will likely be a significant influence on bond trading and mortgage rates in addition to the two particular Treasury auctions. If the stock markets rally, we could see funds shift from bonds into stocks that potentially offer better returns, leading to higher mortgage rates. If stocks fall from current levels early in the week, bonds and mortgage shoppers should benefit.
The two important Treasury auctions come Wednesday and Thursday when 10-year Notes and 30-year Bonds are sold. The 10-year sale is the more important of the two as it will give us a better indication of demand for mortgage-related securities. If the sales are met with a strong demand from investors, we should see the bond market move higher during afternoon trading the days of the auctions. But a lackluster interest from buyers, particularly international investors, would indicate a waning appetite for longer-term U.S. securities and lead to broader bond selling. The selling in bonds would probably result in upward revisions to mortgage rates.
The first monthly data of the week is September’s Goods and Services Trade Balance report early Thursday morning. It helps us measure the size of the U.S. trade deficit, but usually is not a major influence on bond trading or mortgage pricing. It does affect the value of the U.S. dollar, which makes U.S. securities more attractive to international investors when the dollar is strong. This is because the securities’ proceeds are worth more when sold and converted to the investor’s domestic currency. However, its results will not likely directly lead to changes in mortgage rates. Analysts are expecting to see a $45.8 billion trade deficit.
November’s preliminary reading of the University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment will be released late Friday morning. This index measures consumer confidence, which gives us an indication of consumer willingness to spend. It is expected to show a reading of 61.5, up from October’s final reading of 60.9. That would be considered negative news for bonds because rising sentiment means consumers are more optimistic about their own financial situations and are more likely to make large purchases in the near future. Since consumer spending makes up two-thirds of the U.S. economy, any related data is watched closely.
Overall, it is difficult to predict just how active this week will be for mortgage rates. As expected, last week brought us quite a bit of volatility in rates. This week could be very calm or could be just as active as last week was. I don’t believe the economic data on tap will be a catalyst. I think the key will be the stock markets and Wednesday’s Treasury auction. If they give us favorable results, mortgage rates will likely close the week lower than today’s opening levels.